Last Friday afternoon Revere firefighters battled a two-alarm fire that started in the rear yard at 21 Loring Road in Oak Island and quickly spread to two 2 ½-story homes, three sheds, a fence and the abutting marshland.
The blaze was especially challenging because it drew its ignition from the marsh area behind the house. Fires in marshlands can travel as fast as 14 miles per hour, meaning a one-mile area in the right atmosphere of combustibility can become engulfed in flames in four minutes.
Fire Chief Chris Bright said the home at 21 Loring Road was “heavily damaged” by the fire. Firefighters had to cut a hole in the roof to directly confront the fire. Due to the fire, the house is inhabitable and the American Red Cross relocated the family of two adults and two children to a shelter.
“The family was home at the time of they noticed a fire in the backyard,” said Bright. “Brush fires go fast and furious – they burn like gasoline – so it spread quickly.”
Bright said the crews of firefighters, under the leadership of Deputy Chief Anthony Giampietro, did a tremendous job containing and extinguishing the fire.
Upon their arrival at the tense scene, firefighters from Engine 5 Company entered the street off of North Shore Road and encountered a sight of two homes catching on fire. Because of their swift and coordinated actions, the firefighters were able to limit the adjacent home at 19 Loring Road to minimal exterior damage.
“When you have a marsh burning, you have to contain and get out in front of it to stop it before it spreads,” said Bright, adding that there were no injuries reported at the scene.
Fire companies from Chelsea and Lynn assisted the Revere department.
In addition to its busy firefighting operations, the RFD has seen a quadruple increase in the number of medical calls relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. Firefighters have to put on additional layers of equipment and faceshields during those calls that can involve life-saving procedures. Bright said the department has been dealing with the unprecedented COVID-19 situation very well.